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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

Clueless Customer Service Agents Top Phone Service Complaints

There are lots of ways to tick off your customers. Incompetent customer service agents and frustrating voicemail systems are high on the list.

But, a lot of people would rather deal with an automated phone system than speak with a clueless human being, a new survey reported.  Nuance, a company that sells voice and productivity software, including the popular Dragon Naturally, surveyed consumers about their experiences, pet peeves and preferences in customer care.

A long wait to speak with a live agent tops the list of consumer peeves, the study found. Phone systems that don’t offer the option the consumer is looking for or take too long, are also frustrating to consumers, the survey found. 

Consumers preferred automated systems over live agents when conducting basic transactions and simple requests for information, such as checking account balances, making payments, checking airline and train status for travel and checking addresses and business hours.

A majority of consumers (69 percent) prefers to contact customer care with their mobile device versus a land-line phone, through the Internet or any other method, the survey found.

High on consumer wish lists for automated transactions were systems that understood what they were doing on the first try. When asked what makes a great experience with an automated speech-enabled customer service system consumers said  not having to repeat themselves when — or if — they are transferred to a live agent.

Consumers also prefer to deal with systems that have the ability to answer questions verbally without making the caller select from a pre-set menu and systems that steer consumers to the correct destination.

Although this survey didn’t address the question specifically, Nuance said that feedback from customers indicates that consumers prefer talking to a live agent for more complex issues and questions.

Ned Smith
Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.